The time has come to sharpen your swords and dust off your spell books for Valhalla Knights 2, in which players confront big, bad monsters and an ancient evil hiding in the centre of the world.
The action role-playing game was created by Japanese developers K2 and Marvelous Entertainment, which also co-published the title with United States-based XSeed Games for Sony's PlayStation Portable system.
A sequel to the hit 2007 PSP title, Valhalla Knights 2 delivers more features, weapons and character customisation options than its predecessor but fails to advance its storyline due to various quests which players must pursue.
The protagonist of the story, which is unrelated to the original version, is an orphan who grows up to prove his or her worth as a leader who can slay the main villain, the Goddess of Destruction.
Gamers are able to customise their characters and battle team members as in the original but they have more choices. Players can choose their gender, race (such as human, halfling, dwarf or elf) and job class (including priest, thief, knight, samurai or ninja).
There is a vast array of weapons, armour, skills and equipment available. Players can switch control between any of six team members during the game.
There are two multiplayer modes that allow gamers to team up or battle each other. The two-player co-operation mode allows two friends to go on quests together and share any booty they win. The versus mode has gamers fight each other in an arena to claim a prize.
In Valhalla Knights 2, gameplay can become laborious and boring because players spend a lot of time doing menial tasks - specifically, dungeon-crawling in the same place over and over again - that have nothing to do with advancing the story. Players must pony up their hard-earned gold, for example, to hire people to identify items dropped by monsters.
Fights with monsters and the bosses of each level are intense and occur in real time. However, gamers will be forced to make battles simple button-mashing affairs due to a lack of time to unleash special combinations or super attacks and to get the story moving.
Pros: More features and character customisation than the original title.
Cons: Slow plot development and needless quests make for tedious gameplay.